College Success Tip #40 - Scholarship Scams
One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.
Scholarships are identified as grants or payments made to support a student’s education whether academically or based off of another achievement such as (extracurricular, sports, donations, etc.) achievements.
Knowing that a scholarship is a form of support it is hard to imagine that individuals use a good thing to attract people in need for fraudulent schemes and scams to capitalize on eager Higher education students and families.
Nearly every year “several hundred thousand students and parents are defrauded by scholarship scams. The victims of these scams lose thousands if not millions of dollars collectively on an annual basis according to several sources.” (FinAid, Scholarship Scam Report).
In order to identify fraudulent scams one must be able to discern truth from lies. When one does not know what to look for they can GET GOT at any time. Distinguishing between official legitimate and fraudulent organizations is the first step in protecting your identity and family from scholarship scammers.
Below are some recommended Tips as it relates to Identifying Fraudulent Scholarship Opportunities:
Tip # 1 – Pray and Ask God for wisdom.
When an opportunity becomes available ask God to guide you with knowledge and understanding as you determine if this is indeed a scholarship opportunity a scholarship scam. “ Scholarship Scam operations often imitate legitimate government agencies, grant-giving foundations, education lenders and scholarship matching services using official sounding names containing words like “National”, “Federal” “Foundation”, or “Administration.” They even go as far as dressing up fake websites and letterhead for letters and their marketing purposes. Although we know that the ill-gotten gains won’t last long but the act of one committing a scholarship scam is totally repulsive.
Tip # 2 – DON’T SEND MONEY!
Scholarships assist students. Any scholarship committee that encourages you to send money for an extensive period of time for “fees” “applications” “searches” etc Beware. The scholarship scammer might possibly inform you that you’ve won and you need to submit a “disbursement” or “redemption” fee or even taxes, watch out for that! Be extremely careful if you've never sent in a scholarship application and you are contacted to send money. Also be very mindful of Scholarship search services that guarantee that you will receive a scholarship or they will refund your money. Don’t fall for the hype, and pay for so called ‘scholarship seminars” these are used as bait for some insurance and investment companies to get you in and sometimes do you in. Beware. Research and Analyze the company before committing.
Tip # 3 - RESEARCH & ANALYZE
Look at the webpage and the literature the scholarship company provides.
Does everything match?
Look at the address, does the address exist?
If you complete a google image search on the address does an abandoned warehouse, shack or hospital appear?
When you call the number listed is the number out of service or someone from another country answers the phone?
When you attempt to return missed calls is the number all of a sudden out of service?
When you email the company for further information does the email bounce back stating that it was undeliverable?
Does the company tell you to contact them only through wireless transacting services like Western union and Money gram, where it hard to trace them?
When you look on the company’s website at previous scholarship winners is the website down?
Does the website exist?
When you click on the links of the company’s social media is it inactive?
Are there are only 2 posts up?
When you try to locate a contact person or contact department you are unsuccessful every-time because nothing exists?
You must research and analyze, many scammers can put on a stellar performance in renting a hotel, putting on their Sunday best outfit and give you handouts that they’ve printed out with a presentation using stolen overhead and office supplies. That is why you must pray for wisdom and when you see an issue follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit and don’t get scared or caught up. You’ve got to move around and report them!
Tip # 4 - REPORT IT!
If you’ve identified a scholarship scam or believe the scholarship opportunity is a scam REPORT IT. These scammers can exist for years without being found out. It is important to sound the alarm for the scamming activity to cease and for others to be spared from the action you took to help out. You can report the scam to the following agencies:
National Fraud Information Center (NFIC)
Federal Trade Commission (FTC),
State Attorney General’s Office
Better Business Bureau (BBB)
US Postal Inspection Service and the US Department of Education Office of the Inspector General
You can visit the links below on the blog post and report the scam with the literature that they’ve provided you. If you’ve gone in to an interview be able to report and account the events that occurred. Also make a police report of what occurred.
Peace & God Bless,
Aiming Towards the Target,
FinAid. (2018) The SmartStudent Guide to Financial Aid. http://www.finaid.org/scholarships/scams.phtml
Reporting Scholarship Scams:
US Department of Education Office of the Inspector General